How to Challenge Assumptions

Posted on January 29, 2016 by Ascanio Pignatelli | 0 comments

Assumptions are beliefs that since something happened in the past, it will repeat itself in the future. Because assumptions are based on our personal experiences, they have more catabolic energy associated with them than either interpretations or limiting beliefs.

The assumptions we have often come from personal experiences filled with pain and/or failure. They hold us back because we avoid situations that we think are painful or will result in failure. For example, if you once had an awful experience giving an important presentation it would be completely normal to not want to ever give another presentation.

What is a catabolic experience from your past that you think might be repeated in the future?

Because assumptions are more personal, and consequently more emotional, they are more difficult to challenge. When challenging an assumption simply ask “Just because that happened in the past, why must it happen again now?” You could also look to a similar, yet successful, past situation and ask yourself:

  • What worked well then?
  • How did my strengths help me succeed then?
  • How can I take my strengths and apply them to my current situation?
  • Which items on your list above might be a result of an assumption? Use the above process to challenge them.

Ascanio Pignatelli is an employee engagement expert. He is an award winning speaker, seminar leader, coach, and author of the forthcoming book Lead from Need: Raising Employee Engagement from the Core. He is the founder of E3 Solutions, an executive coaching and leadership development group that helps executives develop the leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces.

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